Russian baked milk, known as ryazhenka, somewhat resembles sweetened condensed milk. The initial slow heat gives the milk a dense, caramelized quality, and a rich creamy color.
The caramelized milk is then cultured with buttermilk. Because it is fermented, it can be safely stored at room temperature for up to 40 hours.
- 2-1/2 quarts milk
- 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pour milk into an oven-safe 9x13-inch casserole dish and place in oven. Bake for 4 to 5 hours until a golden-brown crust forms on top of the milk.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly so the crust can be removed. The milk should be a light tan. Continue to cool to between 105°F and 115°F. (At this point, the baked milk is very sweet with caramel notes. You can stop here, fi you like, and chill for a sweet, rich milk, or continue with the fermentation.)
- While the milk is cooling, get your vessel ready. A Yogotherm, or a similar type of thermos incubator, will work well. Pour the milk into the vessel and stir in 1/4 cup of buttermilk.
- Cover the container and leave it in a warm place for 10 to 12 hours or overnight.
Pour the finished ryazhenka into a bottle or pitcher and store in the refrigerator. It will be somewhat thick, much like drinkable yogurt.
Makes about 1 quart
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